Virginia families separated by divorce know that sharing child custody is a challenge. Parents sometimes battle for years over who should have custody and what a non-custodial parent will get in terms of visitation rights. If both parents are in a place where they can care for a child, the ideal would be for them to split custody roughly in half. However, figuring out a schedule that works for everyone is not always easy.
Parents may be inclined to alternate custody every other week, so that they and/or their children only have to travel between homes once a week. The problem with this, particularly for younger children, is that it can cause separation anxiety, which could lead to problems further down the line. A better option would be for parents to switch custody 1-2 times per week.
Under a 2-2-3 custody schedule, parents would alternate between having their children for two and three nights at a time. This schedule is more well-suited to parents who live close to each other, since it would not disrupt their children’s school week. A similar option, which involves less frequent travel, is the 3-4-4-3 schedule.
If it is too hard for parents to have revolving custody days, they can also agree to let one parent have the children for extended weekends, assuming one parent is fine with giving up equal custody. Even in this scenario, parents should not assume that a custody schedule will never change. Parents should be flexible to account for any contingencies, such as illness. It is also a good idea for parents to schedule a plan in advance for major holidays and birthdays, such as switching off every other year. A Virginia-licensed family law attorney might be able to assist clients in negotiating a custody schedule that is agreeable to all parties.